19/01/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Nick Clegg says


Chris Rennard must apologise. "What for?", say his friends. We'll ask


senior Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander whose side he's on.


What about the voters? What do they make of the Lib Dems? We hear the


views of a Sunday Politics focus group.


Coming up here, the fall-out from group. A


Coming up here, the fall-out from the latest row between Sinn Fein and


the DUP. We'll hear live from the leaders of SDLP, the Ulster


Unionists and Alliance. Join me in half an hour.


plunge from the highboard from who else but the Minister for


Portsmouth. And with me, as always, the best and


the brightest political panel in the business: and in London, Boris


Johnson has pledged to recruit more volunteers. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis


and Janan Ganesh, who'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


First this morning, Nick Clegg is considering a fresh investigation


into the behaviour of the party's former chief executive, Lord


Rennard. Last week, a lawyer appointed by the party decided that


no action could be taken against him, but that women who had accused


the Lib Dem peer of inappropriate behaviour "were broadly credible".


More than 100 party activists are demanding an apology. Chris Rennard


say he's nothing to apologise for and the party whip must be returned


to him. Helen, this is not going away. It is turning into a crisis


for the Lib Dems? They have only got seven female MPs. There is no female


Cabinet Minister. There is a reasonable chance that after the


next election there might in no female Liberal Democrat MPs at all.


A scandal like this will not encourage women into the party. Have


they made a complete mess of it? You feel for Nick Clegg, because he


launched an utterly rigorous process. He called in a QC. The QC


looked at it and decided that the evidence did not meet the burden of


proof in a criminal trial. But clearly he felt that the evidence


from these women was very credible and serious. He said it was broadly


credible. Clearly it was serious. Rennard is being advised by Lord


Carlisle, fellow Liberal Democrat peer, who is giving purely legal


advice. He is saying it has not reached that edge-mac, so do not


apologise. This is a political issue, so the agony continues. Nick


Clegg was hoping to keep the party whip withdrawn. But they did not


launch an enquiry, the Webster enquired it was not an enquiry, it


was a legal opinion. You're right, it was an internal opinion. The Lib


Dems distinguished themselves from the other two parties not with


policy, but with ethics. They presented themselves as being


cleaner, and in possession of more Robert Jay than Labour and the


Conservatives. That will be harder to do now. -- more probity. There


are a Lib Dem peers that are more relaxed about taking him back and


letting him pick up the party whip. That is the problem. There is a


generational issue. The older Lib Dems in the House of Lords, the kind


of thing, he did not do anything that wrong. The younger activists


and those outside the House of Lords, they think it is a pollen.


Yes, there is definitely a sort of what you are complaining about sort


of thing. That is symptomatic of a cultural difference. The report last


year found that they tried to manage the allegations. They did not do


what any company would do if there was an allegation of sexual


harassment. If there had not in the by-election in Eastleigh, this story


may not have got the attention it did. Channel four news are the one


that really drove this. Without their reporting, this might not have


come out. It is not going to go away, because the issue of whether


he gets the party whip back will come week. -- will come up this


week. So it's not been a great week for


the Liberal Democrats and none of this will help public perceptions of


a party already struggling in the polls. In a moment, I'll be talking


to the second most senior Liberal Democrat in the land, Danny


Alexander. First, Adam Fleming went to Glasgow to find out what voters


there made of the party. Let's put the Lib Dems under the


microscope in Glasgow. We have recruited some Glaswegians who have


voted for them, and some who have not. Hello, John. Let's get started.


I will be watching them through the one-way mirror, along with the


former Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett. Let's get to the heart of


the matter straightaway. If the Lib Dems were a biscuit, what would they


be? Tunnock's Teacake. Hard on the outside but soft in the middle. They


give in. There is no strength of character there. They just give in


to whoever. Ouch. Rich Tea. A bit bland and boring. Melts and crumbles


under any sort of heat and pressure. Morrison's own brand of biscuit, not


top of the range like Marks Spencer or Sainsbury's or Waitrose.


A custard cream, sandwiched between David Cameron and the Tories. I


think they were concerned that they had one exterior, but something else


was really inside. They did not find it too definitive, too clear, too


concise, too tasty, too appealing. Which means? It is a worry. If that


is their gut reaction, literally, let's find out what is behind it.


The context of them being stuck between a rock and a hard place, for


them as a party, I feel slightly sorry for them. I think people who


voted for them will think they are victims as well, being sold down the


river by going to the coalition. I think the ones, particularly student


fees, that was an important one to a lot of people. People felt cheated.


I agree. Just going back on that, so publicly and openly, it makes you


think, well, what do they stand for? It is trust. Harsh. But our group is


feeling quite upbeat about the state of the economy. What have the Lib


Dems contributed to that? I am not quite sure. It is George Osborne, a


Conservative, who is the Chancellor, so it is mostly down to him. The


Liberal Democrats are mostly on their coat tails, if you know what I


mean. Have the Lib Dems done anything, anyone? I think the


Liberal Democrats were responsible for increasing the tax allowance,


?10,000 for next year. I think they have played a major role in that.


Yes. I am glad somebody noticed that. We will have helped everyone


who is receiving a salary, and it is interesting that nobody has


mentioned that. Now, let's talk about personalities. Everyone knows


him, but what about say, this guy? Alexander. Danny, they got it


straightaway. I actually quite like him. I think he talks very clearly


and it is easy to understand what he says. Fellow redhead Charles Kennedy


is popular as well. He is very charismatic and it is through him


that I voted Liberal the last few times. But who is this? I recognise


him but I cannot tell you his name. That is the party's leader in


Scotland, Willie Rennie, and the party's role in the upcoming


referendum on independence draws a blank as well. It does not feel like


they have featured, it is SNP and Labour and Conservative. They are


last in a four horse race. We have been talking about the biggest issue


in Scottish politics, independence and the referendum and the Lib Dems


are nowhere. They are not mentioned and they seem to think it is all


about Labour and the SNP. The Lib Dems are part of the Better Together


campaign and we are being drowned out among that. Looking to the


future, what messages do voters have for the Lib Dems? Get a backbone. Do


not go back on your policies or your word. Be strong and decisive. If you


will pardon the expression, man up. DIY, do it yourself. Do not award


bankers and other people for failure. Stand up. Be your own


person, party. If that focus group represented the whole country, what


would the result for the Lib Dems be at 2015 in the election? If they get


the message across between now and then, the result could be OK. If


they do not get the message across, the result could be disaster. Maybe


they would do a lot better on their own. I do not think you are seeing


the true Lib Dems because they are in the coalition. They maybe deserve


another chance. Crucially for the Lib Dems, that means there is some


hope, but there is also plenty of anger, some disappoint, and a bit of


bafflement as well. And watching that with me, senior


Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.


Welcome to the programme. One of the things that comes through from the


focus group is that if there is any credit around for the economic


recovery, it is the Tories that are getting it, and you are not? What


can you do about that? The first thing to say is that the economy


would not be recovering if it was not for the Liberal Democrats. If it


was not for our decision right beginning in 2010 to form a strong,


stable coalition government that to deal with the problems, we would


still be in the mess that Labour left us with. Why are you not


getting the credit? That was one focus group. It was interesting to


hear opinions. We have to work very hard to get across the message that


the economy would not be recovering without the Liberal Democrats.


People would not be seeing the largest income tax cuts for a


generation without the Liberal Democrats. The ?10,000 threshold


that one of the people referred to is coming into peoples pay packets


this year. Lots of people recognise that. There was the one person in


the focus groups. This is your measure of success, raising the


people at which people pay income tax. But most of the voters do not


even give you credit for that. The role that we haven't British


politics as a party, is that we are the only party that can be trusted


to deliver a fair society and a strong economy. People know they


cannot trust the Labour Party. We saw it again from Ed Miliband this


morning. You cannot trust the Labour Party with the nation's finances. It


may well be your policy, the income tax threshold, but it is the Tories


that are getting the credit? I do not think that is true. I have spent


lots of time meeting photos and lots of people recognise that if it was


not for the Liberal Democrats, people would not be seeing those tax


cuts. We are helping disadvantaged children in schools. It is right


that we have to work very hard between now and polling day to do


several things, to make sure that we secure the recovery, there can be no


complacency. The economic recovery is in its early stages and we need


to make sure it is sustainable. We need to make sure the benefits of


the recovery are shared out people who have made sacrifices, people on


low pay, people who have seen their savings are eroded. The Tories have


now hijacked another Lib Dem policy, another big hike in the


minimum wage. You spoke about the need to make sure that people on low


pay benefit from the recovery, a big hike in the minimum wage. Did the


Chancellor consulting on this? We have been talking about it for some


time. Vince Cable asked the low pay commission for advice on this. Why


did Vince Cable not make this announcement, why was it the


Chancellor? Let me say a few other things about this. If we are going


to secure the recovery, this year we have to make sure that businesses


start investing. We have got to get Roddick typically rising. An


increase in the minimum wage is something that needs to follow that.


We will not do it unless the low pay commission adviser as it is


important for the economy at this stage. Did you know the Chancellor


was coming out with that statement? I did not know he was going to say


something on that particular day. We have worked together on it in the


tragedy to see what the economic impact would be, and to emphasise


that it is the commission, which has credibility with business, trade


unions and government. It must not be a politically motivated increase.


So you did not know, and Vince Cable, and it is properly a matter


for him as the Business Secretary, he did not make the announcement? I


don't think that's right. I don't clear every word I say with him, I


don't expect him to do the same to me. The Lib Dems have told us before


it was the Treasury that was blocking this from happening. We


were going to ask the low pay commission to advise us on bringing


the minimum wage back up. During the financial crisis, wages have been


lower-than-expected but it's also right, we shouldn't act in a hasty


way, we should listen to what the commission has to say, and if they


don't recommend an increase we have to make sure economic conditions are


there to get it right. Not only are the Tories getting credit for that,


our Scottish voters group showed that people have still not forgiven


you for ratting on tuition fees, and that was a broken promise that


didn't even apply to the people in Scotland, where there are no tuition


fees! Nick Clegg has been very clear about the issues that that brought


up. If you look at our manifesto, the University of London said we


delivered about 70% of our policies in the manifesto. They haven't


forgiven you for the big one. The big promise we made was to cut


income tax the millions of people. That is a policy which is putting


money back into the pockets of working people. It is only possible


because we are delivering our economic plan in government with the


Conservatives. Now we have to make sure, through tax cuts, through


looking at issues like the minimum wage and other groups who have made


sacrifices, make sure that benefit is shared. I am not going to agree


to anything which undermines the confidence of businesses to invest


in this country over the next 12 months. Speaking of Scotland, the


Lib Dems, why do they now look largely irrelevant in the battle for


the union? Not one of our focus group even knew who your Scottish


leader is. I don't accept that. I have spent a lot of time with


Alistair Carmichael and others, we are all making the case every day.


If Scotland votes to be independent, it will be in a much worse financial


position within the European Union. Scotland will be contributing to the


rebate for the UK, rather than benefiting from it. It has been a


disaster for your Scottish based to have joined a coalition with the


Tories. It may have been the right thing to do, you say it is in the


national interest, but Scottish Lib Dems did not expect to be in a


coalition with the Tories. By the way I think it is also in the


national interests and the interests of the people for Scotland, cutting


the income tax of Scottish people, stabilising the economy. We are now


seeing good growth. But you are in meltdown. I don't accept that. We


will see what happens in the 2015 election. I think we have a record


to be proud of, we have played a very important role in clearing up


the mess Labour made in the economy, of making sure the


Coalition government tackles the problems in this country, but does


so in a fair way. I think the biggest risks to the economic


recovery over the next few years is either a majority Labour government


or a majority Conservative government. Labour you cannot trust


with the finances, the Tories want us to play chicken with the European


Union which would truly be a disaster to investment in this


country. You announced this week that if Scotland votes to leave the


UK, it would be the British Treasury that would guarantee all British


government debt. There wouldn't be a negotiation, but the backstop would


be that even if they didn't take anything, we would still guarantee


the debt. What was happening in the markets that you needed to calm them


down? We were getting quite a few questions from the people we rely on


to lend us money. We are still borrowing billions of pounds every


month as a country. Those people were asking us to clarify this


point. It was becoming a serious concern? It wasn't reflected in the


guilty yields. I follow the bond market quite carefully and there was


no sign this was having an impact. That's why the right thing to do was


to clarify this point now, rather than the concerns being reflected in


what you imply, and I think it is a bad idea for Scotland to vote for


separation but it would be wrong to allow for the fact that question is


on the table to cost taxpayers in the UK more money and higher


interest payments simply because Alex Salmond has put that question


on the table. That's why I think it was the right thing to do. There


were a lot of calls from the focus group that you need to be different.


Nick Clegg has embarked on this aggressive differentiation. Where


you can be different is the bankers' bonuses. What conceivable


reason could there be for anybody at RBS getting a bonus twice in their


salary? We have not been approached by RBS in terms of those votes. I


would be sceptical about an approach from RBS if it can. It shows what we


have presided over as a party in government, massive reductions...


I'm not asking you about that, I'm asking what conceivable case there


can be for a bank that has failed to sell its branches even though


ordered by the Government, still has 38 billion of toxic debt on its


balance sheet, I ask again what possible reason should they get


twice salary as a bonus? Your right to say RBS is in a very different


position to other banks, it is mostly owned by the state. RBS


hasn't put a case to us but they might do so I would like to look at


what they would say, but I would be sceptical as to whether a case could


be made given some of the things you said, but also the fact that it is a


bank that has benefited from the taxpayer standing behind it. Now RBS


has to focus more on domestic retail. Let me turn to Chris


Rennard, ten women have accused him of sexual harassment. He denies


every case. Who do you believe? We have been through a process on this


as a party. A report has been issued on this. I agree with Alistair


Webster on this, he has made clear that while he cannot prove what


happened to a criminal standard, that there is clear there has been


considerable distress and harm caused. I agree with him about that


and that's why it is necessary for Chris Rennard to apologise as he has


been asked to do. If he refuses to apologise, should he be denied the


Lib Dem whip in the Lords? I don't think he should be readmitted to the


Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords until such time as the


disciplinary process, including the apology, has been done properly. We


are very democratic party, it is a matter for our group in the House of


Lords in due course to make that judgement. Party HQ has had a lot of


complaints from party members about the fact no apology has been made.


The appropriate committee would need to look at that and decide what


action needs to be taken because these are very serious matters. We


as a party have learned a lot, taken a long, hard look at ourselves, to


change the way we work. The apology does need to be made. We are told


that Lord Newby, the Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats in the House


of Lords, we are told he has shaken hands with Chris Rennard and


welcomed him back. That decision has not been taken yet. I think Lord


Newby would share my view on this. Have you shaken his hand and


welcomed him back? No, I haven't. Does Nick Clegg have the power to


deny Chris Rennard as the whip? I am making it clear that a lack of


apology is totally unacceptable, and therefore we have to take steps if


that is not forthcoming. His view and my view is that Lord Rennard


should not be readmitted to the House of Lords if that is not


forthcoming. In our party, our group in the House of Lords has two in the


end take a view for itself. And they can override Nick Clegg's view? I


hope that when they look at this... Do they have the power to override


Nick Clegg? They have the power to decide who should be the whip. The


failure to follow up the simple human demand for an apology for the


stress that has been caused is totally unacceptable. Your party is


totally down lighted on this -- divided on this. Here is what Lord


Carlile had to say. A total nonsense, hyperbole. It is a


ridiculous statement to make and we have seen Alistair Webster, the QC


who did this investigation, comment on that himself this morning. He has


followed the process the party laid down in its rules, which sets the


standard for the investigation which asked him to report on the evidence


he has found, but he also has a duty of confidentiality and


responsibility under the data protection legislation as well. Here


is what your activists have said in a letter to the Guardian. This shows


there are strong opinions, but why should Chris Rennard apologise for


something he denies, unproven allegations, on an unpublished


report that Chris Rennard has not been allowed to read? He should


apologise because he wants to continue to be a member of the


Liberal Democrats and this is the recommendation that has been made by


the internal disciplinary process. Webster himself said this was not an


inquiry, it is an opinion. If Chris Rennard apologises on this basis, he


opens himself to civil lawsuits. He says he is not going to do it. As a


Liberal Democrat you join the party because you believe in its values,


you abide by its rules. One of those rules is that we have a process if


there are disciplinary allegations. The committee of the party supported


Webster's recommendations, one of which was that an apology should be


made because he clearly found distress had been caused. Will there


now be a proper inquiry? I don't think any of these legalistic


things, I don't think he can have it both ways. Will there be a proper


inquiry? Alistair Webster did do a proper inquiry. There was a proper


report into what happened at the time and we have learned a lot from


this is a party, and the most important thing now is that Chris


Rennard apologises. You have made that clear. What kind of biscuits


are you? Are you a Tunnocks? Soft on the inside? It is good of you to be


advertising a Scottish product. We just wondered if you weren't tough


enough to take on Ed Balls. Thank you. More than tough enough is the


answer to that. Generally governments are a bit


rubbish at IT projects. They tend to run way over budget and never quite


achieve what they promised. So the revelations of a former spy that the


US and British security agencies were in fact astonishingly efficient


at eavesdropping on the digital communications of their citizens


came as a bit shock. But just how worried should we be about their


clandestine activity? In his latest revelation, former US


by Edward Snowden has claimed that America's National Security Agency


operates a secret database called Dishfire. It collect 200 million


mobile phone messages every day from around the world, accessed, he says,


why British and American spies. This week, the president has outlined a


series of surveillance reforms, including Ning to the storage of the


phone call information of millions of Americans, and no Morse -- and no


more spying on allies like Angela Merkel. Critics say that the British


intelligence agencies have refused to acknowledge even the need for a


debate on the issue. The Foreign Secretary William six says that we


have a very strong system of checks and balances. -- William Hague. ??


new line Nick Pickles is director of the pressure group Big Brother


Watch. The Labour MP Hazel Blears in on Parliament's Intelligence And


Security Committee. They're here to go head to head.


Welcome to both of you. Hazel Blears, let me come to you first.


President Obama has made some major changes as a result of what we have


learned that the NSA in America was up to. But British politicians seem


to, they are not up for this kind of thing, they are hoping it will go


away? It is not going away and that is why my committee, the


Intelligence And Security Committee, has decided to launch an enquiry


into whether the legal framework is up-to-date. We have had massive


technological change. We have had a call for evidence. Some of the


sessions will be open so that people can see what the evidence is.


Obviously some of the information will have to be classified, but on


the committee, there is a real commitment to say, there is a big


debate going on, let's see if the system is as Rob asked as we can


make it. The big question is oversight and the call for evidence


that the committee has issued is not mention oversight. It is ten years


since the Foreign Affairs Committee said that the committee should be a


fully elected committee chosen by Parliament and not the Prime


Minister. It has changed, actually. The Prime Minister nominates people


and the house gets to him -- gets to approve. In America, they have a


separation of power, the president does not nominate Kennedy.


Basically, Hazel Blears, you're an establishment lackey? I do not think


so. Most of the people on the committee have some experience of


intelligence and these issues. In this country, we have robust


scrutiny, compared to some of her European neighbours. We have


Parliamentary scrutiny, the interception commissioners, and


ministers have to sign the warrants. But there may be room for


improvement, which is why we are having the enquiry. Do not forget,


President Obama said that the agency should not have the ability to


collect data, he wanted to put more safeguards in. That is essential for


the work of the agencies. If you cannot see the data, you cannot take


the connections and see the patterns. Some people never talk


about the threat from terrorism, it is all about travesty. There are


several thousand people in this country, as we are talking, who are


actively planning to do a country harm. When this debate started in


the US, the NSA head stood up and said there are 54 plots that have


been detected by this capability that has detected and that in bulk.


Now the head of the NSA has admitted that the number is actually zero. It


is not the intelligence committee in the US that did the work to reduce


that number, it was a Judiciary Committee. The fact that we have two


different bodies doing this in this country, it means that you do not


get the correct view. How can people have confidence in a body when if


you go around Europe, for example, or the world, we are not at the end


not requiring judges to not sign warrants? I do not accept that the


committee failed on that range of issues. You look at the reports on


7/7. Two reports by the committee get to the heart of it. If you look


at that terrorist attack on our country, people will say, why did


you not have them on the radar? The agencies are between a rock and a


hard race. They have got to be subject to oversight, but beanie


capability. Did you know about Dishfire? We go to GCHQ on a regular


basis and I know about the capabilities that we have got. Some


of the names of these programmes, we would not necessarily know. But did


you know that GCHQ had the capability to use Dishfire, or to


get Dishfire material from the NSA? I knew and my committee knew that we


had the capability to collect data, and these days, people do not write


letters, they do not use landline telephones, they use the Internet


and text in, so it is important that the agencies are able to keep up


with that take the logical change. What should happen? The proper legal


framework should include, if a company is cooperating, as Google


and Facebook do, it should be illegal for GCHQ to hack into them.


In the US, Lundberg estimate that this has driven a 35mm and hole in


the US economy because people do not trust but there are systems are


secure. We need to know that GCHQ are not trying to use a different


door into the system, whether by hacking or foreign intelligence. We


need judicial oversight with judges and not politicians signing off. The


final 30 seconds to you. As a result of the changes in the Justice and


Security act, the committee is accountable to Parliament and not


the Prime Minister. Those changes are taking place, and I am up for


the debate if we need more change or not. But I want British agencies to


have more power to protect the people in this country. Thank you to


both of you. It's coming up to 11:40. You're watching the Sunday


Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, we'll get the verdict of


the Minister for Portsmouth on that dive from the Portsmouth MP. Ouch!


Hello, and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland. I've


been told by Unionist politicians that the UVF, the PUP Ali aren't


order are effectively one and the same thing in the city of Belfast. I


think it's very unhelpful at a critical stage for somebody to go


out and take the pin out of the grenade. I think we need a more


mature reflection on his part. I understand he is under pressure.


This time last week, things were perfectly polite, if not exactly


brimming over with positivity. Now it seems relationships between the


DUP and Sinn Fein have hit rock bottom. With the five party leaders


due to meet again on Tuesday, just how damaging is this latest war of


words between the First and Deputy First Ministers? Joining me are


David Ford, the Alliance Party leader, the Ulster Unionist leader,


Mike Nesbitt, and the leader of the SDLP, Alasdair McDonnell.


Plus, is it now time for the British and Irish governments to take


control of the process? I think it is an intervention, I think it will


be by both governments, and we are agreed this is something that both


governments will work together on. Joining me to discuss that and more


are Sheila Davidson and Steven McCaffery.


It's almost three weeks since the Haass talks broke up without


agreement. Despite that, the five main parties have continued to


discuss the potential for progress on the proposals. But has the row


between the DUP and Sinn Fein over comments made by the Deputy First


Minister cast doubt over any possible agreement? The leaders of


the three other parties are with me. You are all very welcome. Alistair


MacDonald, was Martin McGuinness right with what he said on Thursday


that the PUP, UVF and Orange Order are effectively the same? In my view


it was unhelpful. We are the delicate lace and there may be an


overlap but it was unhelpful to say it. Was it wrong? It was unhelpful.


There is overlap at times between some organisations as far as I know,


and may be more significant than elsewhere but it has not contributed


to the peace we are looking for here, which is moving forward, all


those negotiations over a number of months, progress has been made for


some return on that progress, we have to do whatever at party


political interests, we need to push this on towards implementation of


what has been agreed towards legislation where possible and


ultimately towards resolution of outstanding issues. People want hope


and prosperity and this instability means prosperity is difficult. And


the Orange Order and wider Unionist family have denied Martin


McGuinness's allegations. David Ford, any truth to you, the ring of


truth in what he said? He was talking about the issue of


membership which I am not sure it's relevant. What concerns me, when the


Department of Justice had a delegation from the camp at Twaddell


Avenue, he brought with a representative of the PUP and the


DUP and Ulster Unionists, and what worries me is that tie up similar to


the Unionist forum suggesting all Unison is together around


contentious issues, when it seems to me the aren't men I know in Antrim


see things differently. Martin McGuinness talked about that


triangular relationship being the case in Belfast specifically, not


Antrim. I accept that but it worries me to see those giving batting too


difficult elements within North and East Belfast. Might Nesbitt, your


party used to use the phrase inextricably linked referring to


Sinn Fein and the IRA. The PUP and UVF are in extra be linked, the


aren't order supports Twaddell Avenue, so does the PUP. You can see


how Martin McGuinness can connect the dots and put forward that


explanation. The UUP has members in Belfast who are members of the


Orange Order. They are not in the UVF or the PUP. We support human


rights and it is extraordinary the Justice Minister seems to have a


problem with political parties supporting human rights, which is


what Twaddell Avenue is about, and Dr Haass accepted that. The question


from me to Martin McGuinness is why he did that become a because on


Tuesday when he left the room, it was agreed that if anybody would do


any media, they would keep it short a realistic and positive and


concentrate on the fact we were meeting again. But he clearly came


on with the view he wanted to put forward on Thursday. He said that


four times. And it is an unsubstantiated rumour. If I said


leading Republicans said Martin McGuinness were still in the IRA,


the media would not be dancing to my tune. People would not go to him or


Gerry Kelly and asked, are you the guy who told Mike Nesbitt Martin


McGuinness were still in the IRA? This is unsubstantiated and it is


not professional or helpful. It is damaging. Why do you think you did


it? He must have known people would be uncomfortable. I have no idea,


but I will ask. We are at where we are at, and we have a chance here of


doing a final lap around an agreement, the Good Friday Agreement


got us 90% of the way but there are still some difficult issues that


need to be resolved. Richard Haass has brought us a long wait towards


resolution. We now know what the issues are, the cards are all face


up on the table. We don't need more torque, we need resolution and


decisions. I think people imagine it matters because the relationship


between the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the leaders


of the two main parties, appear at an all-time low. Martin McGuinness


was not tricked into saying this, he clearly wanted to see it, and then


Robinson clearly and explicitly rebut that. Who is at 1:30am on


Friday morning so that relationship is critical. I think it is party


politics and that is shaping up towards an election. I understand it


suggested marking was a dictator. That needle is very destructive


inserts of situations. David Ford, it did possibly about both sides


preparing an election strategy in the knowledge this is going


nowhere? That may or may not be the case. I think the next meeting will


show if there is any chance of progress. People will find it


outrageous that after the effort put in by the team, and representatives,


the idea that the plug could be pulled when we have effectively


dealt with the majority of issues and there are real moral issues


about meeting the needs of victims, the idea we would pull the plug on


that and go nowhere for electoral purposes is pretty cynical. Might


Nesbitt, would you agree? I want a fairer deal across the issues of


parades and the past but Martin McGuinness has not made any easier


when he talks about St Patrick's Day being a deadline as if America is


trying to force something. The US consul said America cannot set a


deadline. It isn't formally setting a deadline, but he said he had a


sense America would like to see it wrapped up by Saint Patrick 's Day.


We would like to see it wrapped up tomorrow if possible, nor is it


helpful for Eamon Gilmore to say what you have just shown him saying.


He has acknowledged that flags and parades are effectively strand one


issues that are in turn will to the bus back to the affairs of Northern


Ireland's and it is not useful for Eamon Gilmore to make that sort of


statement. We will hear from him shortly. He made that comment in the


wider context of trying to get the whole process to move forward. I


will listen carefully to the interview that Yediot the Republic


has a role in flags and parades is not true, it is up to the five


parties to sort this out. But does he have a role in the whole process


to move it forward Chris the Irish Republic has a lot of answers to


bring forward in terms of dealing with the past in terms of collusion


and the rest. Alistair MacDonald, how do we move forward Chris like is


it up to the two governments. The five parties are struggling, we have


not been able to get an agreement which should have been made before


New Year's Eve, and if it is not possible to do locally, we need the


help of two governments and a bit of persuasion to get over the line. We


are living in a big brought world out there, the public demand is for


stability so we can help progress and children can have jobs and


education. It is a simple equation. David Ford, do you agree it is up


for the two governments to get in the driving seat? Lets see where we


can get first of. The five main parties did not achieve what was


needed. When we brought in the independent share, we made


significant progress. If people are willing to go out in this week to


identify how we made progress and how we look at the issues of parades


and flags, because the agreement says we can't agree and we have to.


If we get that, we don't need the outside help. Thank you for joining


me on the programme. Let's hear what my guests think. Listening to that,


the public relations executive Sheila Davidson and the journalist


Steven McCaffery. Steven, has that conversation helped nudge us forward


or taken us back with Mike? I am struck by the fact this conversation


has been going on 18 months and everything that has happened in the


intervening process was about putting politics in the driving


seat, and it seems like politics is going into a drift which leaves us


at the whim of events which is a dangerous place to be. Sheila, what


do you make of this bat that happened between the ministers? It


didn't look like an accident, it looked like Martin McGuinness wanted


to get something off his chest. Everyone understands that party


politicking in Northern Ireland is in process. People talk about


Sunningdale being for slowly earners and I don't thing we have learned


anything. This has been a constructive debate and I have


enjoyed listening to the leaders, but that is the kind of debate we


want to see in public. We don't want to see this sort of politicking. The


electorate is still intelligent and we need to stop playing to the


lowest common to nominate and understand there is a huge number of


people in Northern Ireland. Steven has pointed this out recently. The


divisions are getting lower and lower but there is still a lot of


people not on the electoral register. The job of every


politician is to get re-elected. What we need to do is understand we


have a democratic part of this process. We need to vote and when we


get onto the electoral register, we will give our politicians the


mandate to speak sensibly, to speak in terms of what everyone wants and


not late to the lowest common to dominate. Steven, what about the


relationship between Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness? One way of


looking at it is that the end of last week has done huge damage to


the process and hasn't helped us at all. The other is that they have got


off their chest, they have let off steam, said what they wanted to say,


and going into Tuesday, it could be more productive. The worrying thing


is that we are looking toward St Patrick's Day and help from the


Americans, which is a positive thing, but a lot could happen before


then. The more fundamental question is where are the British and Irish


governments? They have been entirely absent, we are now 18 months into


this crisis and I don't think the people of Dublin or London would be


asked to put up with what the people of Belfast have over these


governments with the two governments deciding what they may or may not


do. We will come back to you both later on the programme. The Irish


bluster for Foreign Affairs says if necessary there will be -- The Irish


Minister for Foreign Affairs says if necessary, there will be joint


intervention by the Irish and British governments to get the


parties to agree a way forward on the Haass proposals.


With relationships between Sinn Fein and the DUP at an all-time low, our


political editor, Mark Devenport, asked Eamon Gilmore what he thinks


is needed to get the parties to take the next step forward. I believe


there is a responsibility on political leadership to respond to


the wishes of the public that these issues are resolved and agreement is


reached among the political parties to deal with these issues. Dr Haass


and Doctor O Sullivan produced a fine draft on New Year's Eve. I


hoped that would be accepted and that it would be and is a model, but


I believe there is a responsibility on the political parties to reach an


agreement on the way forward so Northern Ireland can progress and


its people can engage in normal economic and business activity,


create jobs and ensure the place prospers. Given that Unionists


wouldn't agree to those final proposals, isn't it an inevitable


they will have to be renegotiated? I don't think so. I think there is an


issue over the next steps here. I am encouraged parties have met this


week and will meet again next, and both the British and Irish


governments are keeping in close contact with the political leaders


and those discussions. We support and encourage them to try to reach


an agreement. We are available to provide any help we can to them, and


we will fulfil our obligations as co-directors of the agreements. But


there haven't been pre-agreements where the governments were either at


the table and able to administer a stick or wave a carrot in front of


the parties. One good thing about this process is that it began in


Northern Ireland among the parties, it was the ministers of the Northern


Ireland Executive who invited Dr Haass and Doctor O Sullivan to


charities talks. The two governments were guarantors, we have been in


close contact with the parties and we have been in contact with Dr


Haass as well. Why should the two parties be able to make progress on


their own when they weren't able to make it with the assistance of Dr


Haass? Political parties have a range of jurisdictions to make


agreements. That is the process of politics, that is what needs to


happen. The issues at stake are issues within Northern Ireland, the


flanks protests takes place within Northern Ireland, the parades take


place on the streets of Northern Ireland and the issues related to


the past are mainly in Northern Ireland. There are responsibilities


that both governments have relating to these issues and we will fulfil


those, but the primary agreement must be among the political parties.


They will have the support of the Irish government and I know from my


discussions with Theresa Villiers that they will have the support of


the British government. Theresa Villiers has offered to chair talks.


Martin McGuinness says he does not favour that although Peter Robinson


said he would favour it, so is there a role for both governments to make


some joint intervention? I think if there is an intervention it will be


an intervention by both elements together. We are agreed that this is


something that both governments will work together on. If necessary we


will have to do that, but I hope that it will be possible that the


political parties in Northern Ireland will be able to reach


agreement among themselves. I think that that's appropriate, because


these are issues that have to be resolved in Northern Ireland. But


the two governments are determined that we should not allow these


issues to drift Tom I don't think there is a very long period of time


within which this can continue. I think the rays urgency about getting


these issues resolved and making sure 2014 is a year in which


Northern Ireland moves forward. It has emerged that Joe Biden made a


phone call to Peter Robinson to try to push towards agreement and Martin


McGuinness is now talking about Saint Patrick 's Day as the next


deadline. What do you believe is the real role now for the US? I know


from our own discussions with the US administration and I have had the


chance over the past period to discuss these issues with Vice


President Biden and Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama, and


we have kept in close contact through our embassy in Washington


with the US administration and the US Embassy in Dublin has also kept


in close contact with us. I know the US is interested to see this issue


resolved and I think that is important because there is an issue


of reputation, investment, the creation of jobs and all that goes


with it depends on these issues being resolved and Northern Ireland


being seen internationally as a good place to invest.


The Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore,


speaking to Mark Devenport. Sheila Davidson and they wouldn't -- and


Steven McCaffery are still with me. It didn't look like he has a huge


desire to get involved too quickly. It is up to local parties. I don't


think either government has any agenda to get involved and that is


probably right. I think it is time for our local parties to step up. We


have been to endless processes and deadlines but now is the time for


them to show what they are made of. Some of the biggest additions have


already been made and we understand that, some of the biggest sacrifices


have been made, and this is about getting us over the line and it


shouldn't be a problem. There was talk of the Irish government being


involved in Stroud one. I don't think we could accuse either


government of rushing into anything. Earlier are reasonably is suggested


getting involved with the Haass proposals -- Behar stalks, but for


how long have we been waiting for in involvement and it still goes on.


Let's pause and take a look back at the week in 60 seconds, with Gareth


Gordon. Controversial views on his successor


from the former DUP leader. It should not have been done. I think


he thought there was going to be a tremendous uprising as a result of


it. Peter Robinson begged to differ. If we are going to have interviews


about the past, it is better to have them when they are fresh in people


's minds. Martin McGuinness's claimed that progressive loyalism


and the UVF or link did not go down well. The attempt to distract from


the Sinn Fein's glorification of past terrorist crimes. He repeated


the allegation. They rigged -- they agree with my analysis. In Belfast,


the PUP, the UVF and the Orange Order are one and the same thing.


And could the Teletubbies change attitudes in North Korea? They could


according to MLA Jim Shannon. Just a final word. Steven, looking


ahead to that pays the documentary, a lot of anticipation. He seems very


focused on making it about Peter Robinson and the current DUP so we


will have to see how that wrestling match works out. Worth watching?


Yes, some insights into what happened and questions about what


Ian Paisley said at his time at the departure and what he is saying now.


Regardless of what people are saying about the rightness or wrongness of


his recollections, getting them on record is well worth it. A lot of


people say it is about rewriting history. History is always being


rewritten and it is in houses being built by the mayor.


Andrew, back to you. Welcome back. Now she made quite a splash last


night. I am talking, of course, of the Portsmouth North MP, Penny


Mordaunt. If you missed her first appearance in ITV's celebrity diving


competition show, here she is in action.


APPLAUSE Here is a lady who is more used to


campaigning for votes than diving for them. She created far too much


rotation. Hard work has gone into the start of this dive to try and


control it. That looked painful. Now the Portsmouth North MP got voted


off the show last night but what about the verdict that really


matters? The newly appointed Minister for Portsmouth, Michael


Fallon, is here. Welcome to the programme. I would give her ten out


of ten for bravery. I was cheering her on. She was doing this for a


local charity, raising money for the local swimming pool. She was a good


sport. As Minister for Portsmouth, can we expect to see you in your


swimming trunks for the next series? I do not think I have the


spare time at the moment. But there is a big challenge in Portsmouth.


Penny Mordaunt and the other local MPs there have been remorseless in


asking ministers to help the city. They are losing jobs. There is a


goblin Trinity -- there is a big opportunity to create jobs. Should


she have been on a celebrity television show of their role these


problems in Portsmouth? This was in her spare time and it is raising


money for a good cause. I do not think we should eat two sniffy about


it. Did I not see you dressed up on Thursday night, doing your


programme? This is my job. This is not her job. It was in her spare


time, she was raising money for a local charity. Your Minister for


Portsmouth. Are we going to have a minister for every town? Are we


going to have a minister for Chipping Sodbury? Chipping Sodbury


does not have the issues that Portsmouth have -- that Portsmouth


has. There are jobs at risk in shipbuilding. The government puts in


a lot of money through the regional growth fund, some ?20 million. There


are range of government funding streams going into Portsmouth. My


job is to make sure that is properly coordinated. I need to make sure


that Portsmouth seizes this opportunity to develop a more


broadly -based marine and maritime economy. To make sure a marginal


seat stays Tory at the next election? There are marginal seats


everywhere. There is a Liberal Democrat marginal the -- seat. Vince


Cable and I have been working together for the issues that


Portsmouth is facing. We work on these things together. But I have


the very specific job of making sure that the effort on the ground is


coordinated. So Vince Cable is not the Minister for Portsmouth? I have


been there recently, so has Vince Cable. So there are two ministers


for Portsmouth? Just a minute. I am making sure that the effort is


properly coordinated on the ground. I am determined to turn this


challenging time into a proper opportunity. Should we be to Paul


faced about this? No, good honour. How much money would be have to pay


you to get into a swimming costume? Bid is not enough money in the BBC


covers. Good on her. It took seven years to get a leg there's an MP.


She should be a minister. It is a pity she has the spare time to do


this. She is very talented. It is interesting about the Minister for


Portsmouth, up in the north-east they must be sad that they do not


have any marginal seats. Nick Brown as David Cameron last July, can we


have a minister for the north-east, and the Prime Minister is said no?


Does this mean that Portsmouth is more deprived economic late than the


north-east? No, it means it is a marginal seat.


The Labour Leader Ed Miliband was on the Andrew Marr programme this


morning and he outlined plans under a Labour government for an annual


competition audit. Here is what he had to say. The next Labour


government will have an annual competition at it, not just done by


the regulatory body. Alongside them will be the citizens advice bureau,


setting the agenda for the future, setting the agenda for how we can


ensure that competition will benefit consumers and businesses. I want to


see Labour going into the next election as the party of


competition, the party of the consumer, the party of hard-pressed


working families who are struggling. They need somebody to deal with


those issues and that is what the next Labour government will do. I


thought you were meant to be the party of competition? We are the


party of competition. This is the party that has given us some of


these problems. We have an annual competition review in the energy


sector. We have already tackling banking. What is interesting about


his proposal is it is the smaller ones who are less sure about this,


the smaller banks who think that this could inhibit the growth. It is


the smaller energy companies who think that through interfering with


the market, through his price freeze, that he will hinder


competition. We spoke about this before. It is a clever pitch that Ed


Miliband is making. Under the guise of token markets and claiming to be


the party of competition, he is creating the reason for state


intervention? -- broken markets. Exactly, and it is state


intervention that does not work. There is a proud tradition in


government of smashing open cartels. Teddy Roosevelt did it nearly a


century ago. The problem is, in those situations it was clear and


obvious that the consumers were suffering. I am not sure it is


entirely obvious in this country. In the banking sector we have free


current accounts in the high street. That is not true in all Western


countries. In the energy sector, our bills are not outlandish they high.


It is when we take taxes into account the become unaffordable. He


has to make the case that consumers are suffering as a result of these


monopolies. Ed Miliband would say it is not about state intervention, but


about making markets work. The piece that was written by his intellectual


Duryea about the significance and the importance of Teddy Roosevelt.


He was the Republican president in the yearly -- in the early years of


the last century. He wanted markets to work. There is an interesting


debate on Twitter this morning. Tim Montgomerie is saying, why are we,


the Conservative Party, not seen as the party of Teddy Roosevelt? We are


seen as the party of business. There are smaller energy companies


competing against the big six. In banking, we have seen smaller


companies coming. It was the Labour government that created the big six


energy companies. I think Teddy Roosevelt also invaded Cuba and the


Philippines. That could give us a clue as to Ed Miliband's foreign


policy. Nigel Farage has promised to purge the party of its more extreme


candidates ahead of the European Council elections in May. But that


may not be going so well. Listen to this. The latest in this process is


these homosexual laws. And Thomas I shall manage. I believe that the


Prime Minister, who was warned that disasters would follow a three went


in this direction, he has persisted, and I believe that this is largely a


repercussion from this godlessness that he has persisted in. The


instructions I have got from now on, or is just not to answer in, and not


to give interviews such as this one. So you are ignoring them? I am not


ignoring them. But you are talking to me? You are the last one I shall


be speaking to. I think it is too late. Who would have thought it? It


is not global warming that is causing the floods, it is gay


marriage? That explains it. Last year David Cameron offered a coded


retraction of his statement that UKIP is full of fruit cakes. I think


he will be tempted to retract the retraction. It is a warning to lots


of Tories who think that their best interests are served by flirting


with lace -- with UKIP. Nigel Farage is a very plausible guy, but several


layers down, there are people who are very different. Nigel Farage is


saying that he's going to clear the party out of what Mr Cameron called


the fruitcakes. If he is true to his word, Mr Sylvester's days in the


party should they numbered. If Nigel Farage falls under the bus, what is


left of place -- what is left of UKIP? People say that they like UKIP


because unlike other politicians, they speak their mind. But as it


turns into more of a proper organisation, people speaking their


mind will be less acceptable. The European elections are always a


protest vote. People are not happy with the elite. You will get people


saying utterly ridiculous things like that man in Henley-on-Thames.


But this is a chance to vote against the entire political establishment.


I am not sure that comments like that will make much of a difference.


There are lots of arguments about climate change. That was certainly a


new one! They are the only big protest party at the moment. Protest


party is obviously hoovered up lots of votes. We have got to be clear in


European message that we are the only party that can reform Europe


and give people a proper choice, the first referendum in over 40 years.


Mr Sylvester used to be a conservative. You're probably glad


to see the back of him? David Cameron is right, there are probably


a few fruitcakes around there. I think that mainstream conservatives


will understand that this is the only party that can secure European


reform and give people the choice they have been arguing for. Whatever


happens in the European elections, it is a protest vote. We have almost


run out of time. We will see this week of Chris


run out of time. We will see this week of Chris Rennard gets the party


whip act. There is a battle brewing between Danny Alexander and the


common side of the Liberal Democrats and the House of Lords. If he turns


up on Monday and asks to be let in, I they going to make a big scene at


the gate of Parliament? And the issue will stay in the papers? Yes,


they are clearly nervous that Lord Rennard might be tempted to mount a


legal bid. That is all for today. Thanks to all my guests. The Daily


Politics is back on Monday at midday on BBC Two. And I will be here again


next week. Remember if it is Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.


shocking set of statistics. In some British South Asian communities,


women carrying girl babies are more likely to terminate their


pregnancies if they already have a daughter. In England and Wales, up


to 4,700 females were lost in this way. Such is the pressure to deliver


sons that these women preferred to have an abortion than face the


consequence of disappointing their husband and his


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